Going back to school can be a challenge for any child or teenager suffering from incontinence. After all, there are hundreds of students on campus. Some students may even fear bullies who can taunt them if they ever found out about their incontinence. However, you don’t have to worry about your fellow students finding out about your incontinence if you take the right precautions and steps to best manage your symptoms and occurrences.
1. Make Sure Your Teachers (or School Nurses) Know about Your Situation: Your teachers and school nurses are responsible for your well-being, so they need to know if something is wrong beforehand. Telling your teachers or school nurses will also help ensure that they don’t try to stop you from going to the bathroom on time when you need to. If you are too embarrassed to tell your teachers or school nurses, ask your parents to help you explain it to them. However, as a growing young adult, this can be a great opportunity to help boost your own confidence in explaining to others about your own unique needs so that daily life is more comfortable for you and you can just be your normal self.
2. Pay Special Attention to What You Wear to School: Sometimes, it can end up that you have an accident in your clothes despite reaching the bathroom in time. This usually occurs while spending precious seconds fumbling with zippers and buttons on your pants or skirt. If this has ever happened to you, you might need to consider choosing clothing that simply pulls off and is easier to change if you do happen to have an accident. Even if you are required to wear a specific uniform, you can ask your school for permission to make your uniform easy to pull down so that you can avoid any mishaps.
3. Don’t Avoid P.E. Just Because You’re Worried about Changing in Front of Others: Sports periods are a hassle for incontinence sufferers. However, by avoiding physical activity you won’t be able to improve your incontinence symptom and may even make them worse, or attract more attention to yourself by missing out. Instead, talk to your P.E. teacher and inform them about your situation. By doing so, they’ll make sure that you get to use the bathroom whenever you need to and that you can change discreetly before the rest of your classmates reach the locker rooms.
4. Utilize Incontinence Products: One of the easiest ways of getting through the school day without facing the fear of an accident is by utilizing incontinence products. Please understand though, this doesn’t necessarily mean wearing diapers! We have many great products to choose from that meet a wide variety of needs and lifestyles. For example, we offer specific types of disposable underwear that are discreet, absorbent and offer odor control. We also offer reusable underwear options that have a pouch-like addition for you to add a discreet absorbent pad. This way you won’t feel bulky and embarrassed but you will still be protected from leaks and accidents while at school.
5. Be Prepared at All Times: Just in case of an accident or a leak, we recommend stashing a back-up bag or kit in your locker with the follow items in it: A change of pants, underwear or clothes (depending on your situation), extra disposable underwear, pads or diapers (if you prefer diapers), pre-moistened wipes, plastic bags for disposal or carrying home soiled clothing and extra socks (in case of a leak).
6. Don’t Eat or Drink Less Because You Think it Will Cut Back on Accidents: It is never a good idea to cut down your fluid intake because you could be setting yourself up to develop bladder infections or problems like dehydration. Instead, manage your liquid intake to around 5-6 cups during the day. Similarly, don’t avoid eating to control your bowel movements or you may end up with constipation and severe bowel pain. Also, make sure you regulate and time your toilet breaks so that you can relieve your bladder or bowels before they give way.
With these six tips, we hope you will be able to more easily manage your incontinence while at school. However, remember to discuss these issues with your parents or doctor beforehand so that they can guide you to the best treatment and management options that will best for your unique needs.